There are many different education and development opportunities available to Saskatchewan insurance brokers. Most of this training, however, focuses on the technical aspects of the job — and the vast majority fails to incorporate dedicated elements for brokerage entrepreneurs and other emerging brokerage leaders.

In 2021, IBAS — in partnership with SGI CANADA — introduced a new initiative to fill that gap, with the launch of the IBAS Leaders Forum.

This unique program brings together groups of selected individuals for facilitated regular meetings that blend peer mentorship, group discussion, targeted learning, and shared accountability. Each meeting focuses on a topic of mutual interest — often led by an expert guest speaker — and provides a confidential, constructive environment for participants to navigate the challenges facing their brokerages.


Current Cohorts

There are currently three separate Leaders Forym cohorts operating with a total of 27 participants representing 24 different Saskatchewan insurance brokerages.

What Participants Are Saying

Trina Barber (Owner, Carnduff Agencies)

“The most impactful part of the Leaders Forum for me was the connections with fellow brokers. I no longer feel like I am an island.”

Arynne Miller (Owner, St. Brieux Agencies)

"The IBAS Leaders Forum provided a connection with like-minded individuals to maintain and grow my business, and the ability to be honest and vulnerable about real-life problems. The integration of the social component with the professional element was also rewarding.”

Joanna Reece (Director, South Region, Harvard Western Insurance)

“The most obvious benefit of the Leaders Forum is the networking — connecting with people in similar situations and roles, facing similar issues and having the opportunity to discuss those issues with them. I have grown as a leader. The program has helped me focus on both personal and business aspects of leadership growth. It has helped me figure out both who I want to be as a leader and what we want the business side of leadership to be like."

Will Smith (Partner, W.W. Smith Insurance)

“The Leaders Forum came at an excellent time for our business. When the three of us took over ownership of our company, we were nervous about disrupting what our predecessors left us. The business was doing great, so why change what isn’t broken? As time continued, staff morale started to decline, we were starting to see an impact on service, and we were short on answers. In comes the IBAS Leaders Forum, which really helped solidify us as leaders of our brokerage. It was time to take the reigns. Through the help of the excellent guest speakers and conversations within the forum, we were able to transform our office culture. Now we have buy-in, we have energy, and the future is looking bright!”

Join a Cohort

Interested in joining the Leaders Forum? E-mail us at community@ibas.ca for pricing, member expectations, and general information.

About the Facilitators

Stephen Heckbert

Stephen is a nationally acclaimed communications, strategy, and project management expert, with more than 20 years’ experience guiding organizations through complex and transformational change.

A graduate of the University of PEI, Stephen began his career as a journalist, working stints with the CBC, Sherbrooke Record and New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, before relocating to Ottawa to obtain his master’s degree at Carleton University. Following his studies, Stephen held increasingly senior-level positions in both the public and private sectors, including as:

  • Vice President, Communications, with technology giant EDS Canada;
  • Director of Communications for the Liberal Party of Ontario;
  • Chief Operating Officer for NewsWatch, a subsidiary of CCL;
  • Senior Advisor to the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; and
  • Public Relations Program Head at Algonquin College of Arts and Technology.

An accredited public relations practitioner (APR), Stephen has served as president of the Canadian Public Relations Society in the National Capital Region, as well as on the boards of the Canadian Organization for Development through Education and the International Book Bank. He is widely regarding as an expert facilitator, and has been previously honoured with the Excellence in Teaching Award and as Ottawa’s Top 40 Under 40.

Stephen is currently the Executive Director of the Canadian Pork Council and is a sought-after consultant with clients across the country. He can be reached at stephen.heckbert@ibas.ca.

Mark Cooper

Mark is one of the most recognizable and respected business leaders in Saskatchewan. He is the President & CEO of Prairie Clean Energy — an innovative, new start-up converting agricultural waste products into efficient biomass energy — and is the former President & CEO of the Saskatchewan Construction Association.

Mark currently serves on the board of Saskatchewan Polytechnic and is past director with the Regina Food Bank and Friends of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. He holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, his PMP designation in project management, and his ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Mark also obtained a certificate in conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiation from MacEwan University.

In addition to his leadership of Prairie Clean Energy, Mark lends his expertise to IBAS as an Advisor to the President & CEO. he can be reached at mark.cooper@ibas.ca